Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida  |  Last updated 1/14/13
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. The topic strikes a nerve in many communities, especially during tough economic times: use of public funds to build or renovate a major sports facility. Nowhere is the issue more heated than in South Florida. Public funds paid for nearly 75 percent of the construction costs for the Miami Marlins baseball stadium on the former Orange Bowl site. Whether you think that was a smart deal, whats done is done. Not so with Sun Life Stadium. During an afternoon news conference Monday, Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross and chief executive officer Mike Dee announced plans for a 375 million-400 million comprehensive modernization of the stadium that opened in 1987. The proposed upgrade would be finished in time for the 2015 NFL regular season, with hopes of hosting Super Bowl L. More so than Marlins Park, which rarely benefits from a large influx of out-of-town fans, Sun Life Stadium would aid South Florida businesses (e.g. hotels, restaurants) due to its size and proximity. Events such as Super Bowls, BCS championship games, bowl games, etc., usually draw fans who spend a minimum of several days in South Florida. There also are plans to host more international soccer and perhaps the Pan American Games. This has got to be a situation where everybody wins, and were prepared to sit down and work that out, said Ross, who vowed to pay a majority of the costs. I think this a situation where that can happen. Miami currently is in a fight with San FranciscoSanta Clara to host the Super Bowls 50th anniversary in early 2016. That game will be awarded at the NFL owners meeting in May. When Commissioner (Roger) Goodell said Miami needs to do some work on its stadium to get another Super Bowl, my mind as a real estate developer went to work, Ross said. How can we make this a better place, how can we attract great events, how can Miami be looked at as a world class city? And this all turns into creating jobs. The league likely will want an official commitment to a Sun Life Stadium upgrade before awarding Super Bowl L or LI to Miami. Houston and the Super Bowl L runner-up city will contend for the 2017 game, also to be awarded in this spring. The Dolphins would give way to the NFL to operate Super Bowl L, with the economic impact on South Florida potentially in the area of 500 million. With little more than four months remaining before the owners meeting, Ross said a public vote on public funding was unrealistic. Ross, who also owns Sun Life Stadium, pledged to pay for a majority of the upgrade cost, plus overruns. If thats 51 percent, that still leaves 49 percent for the public. I promise that we will keep that franchise here in Miami, playing in this stadium, for the next 25 years, Ross said. Asked later if lack of an upgrade could mean moving or selling the team, both Ross and Dee clarified. We didnt say that, Ross said. Upgrades would include seats closer to the field, wider seats, concourse enhancements, huge HD video screens and an open-air canopy to protect fans from the elements. Dee said a bill will be filed with the Florida Legislature seeking 3 million a year sales tax rebate from the state on goods and services generated at the stadium. A companion bill will seek to give the Miami-Dade County Commission the power to raise the tourist bed tax paid by tourists for hotel-spent nights in Miami from 6 to 7 cents. That would enable the Sun Life Stadium project to tap into the sports franchise tax, which already has been authorized and used on other facilities such as the AmericanAirlines Arena. Dee said the team was open to any and all ideas and nothings off the table in trying to come to an agreement with Miami-Dade County. That wont appease people completely against public funds for athletic facilities. There also are people who cant understand why leagues annually earning billions of dollars would seek financial help when building facilities. But asking a community to invest in a fair deal for both sides can make sense. Such a deal would include timely repayment of any public loans, or perhaps the county assuming part ownership of the stadium. People who think the NFL is bluffing and that Miami always will be in the Super Bowl rotation should think again. There was a period of time, back in the 1980s, where the Orange Bowl passed that point of repair and before this facility opened, where we lost Super Bowls for a 10-year period, Dee said. San Diego, another great destination, the NFL loved going there, now out of the Super Bowl mix because they have a stadium that cant compete. The time to invest is now to make sure that we dont lose 10 years.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Rickie Fowler taunted by fans over his ex-girlfriend

Roger Goodell speaks about future of Pro Bowl in annual address

Mike Krzyzewski provides an update on his health

Sacramento Kings seriously considering firing George Karl

Rick Pitino says school should be penalized, 'but not this team'

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban defends hack-a-player strategy


Jameis Winston awarded Pepsi NFL rookie of the Year

Trade Rumors: Clippers ‘reluctant’ to deal injured Blake Griffin

Bright future for Minnesota Timberwolves

Eli and Archie Manning say Peyton won’t likely leave Denver if he plays in 2016

NCAA mulls changes to graduate transfer and targeting rules

Cavs active in NBA trade market, covet Jared Dudley

Torrey Smith: ‘This is probably the best offense’ for Kaepernick

Byron Scott thought D’Angelo Russell would be further along

Under-the-radar Super Bowl 50 matchups

Is Tim Lincecum's run with the San Francisco Giants done?

$40,000 in Super Bowl tickets stolen from San Francisco hotel

Rams fan makes Super Bowl commercial ripping Stan Kroenke

Panthers LB wants 'clown' Rodney Harrison off the air

Jason Reid: Tom Brady will play at least three more years

Kirk Cousins says he has ‘very good relationship’ with RG3

Super Bowl 50 ticket prices are insane

Take a moment to appreciate the greatness of Cam Newton

4-Star 2018 quarterback Matt Corral commits to USC

QUIZ: Name every NFL regular season MVP

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Five outrageous predictions for Super Bowl 50

QUIZ: Name the winning starting quarterback from every Super Bowl

The top six matchups that could decide Super Bowl 50

Seven unheralded players set to make major impacts in SB 50

10 underrated performances in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

X-factors in Super Bowl 50

NHL nightmare: No Canadian teams in playoff hunt

QUIZ: Name the Super Bowl halftime performers since 1991

Manziel's father fears for QB's life

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker